Call me crazy but I don’t think I would get along with Le Corbusier, if he were still alive that is. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s one of the most influential architects of the 20th century. I just picture him to be difficult. One of the most intimate visits I did while in Paris was to Le Corbusier’s studio-apartment located just outside the 16th arrondissement and to Maison La Roche, just walking distance from the studio. What excites me about these visits is having witnessed the use of architectural detail to create a custom and extremely personalized space. Maison La Roche was the home of an art collector, so the space focuses on light: natural as well as artificial and wall space for exhibiting artworks salon style. Le Corbusier’s studio-apartment makes use of natural light and turns smaller spaces into larger ones by using extra large doors as room dividers. I recently saw a similar use of panels in glass by a design studio called Studio Ko, simply stunning. It seems like such a basic idea to personalize your smaller and larger spaces but unless you are into remodeling your home, you would never have a reason to conceive it. I think building out my closet has been the most personalized I've got and even that's pretty standard.
If you are into flea markets, you’ve heard about and probably visited Les Puces de St-Ouen located in the 18th arrondissement. It covers seven hectares, is divided up into smaller sections and only open Saturdays, Sundays & Mondays. Porte de Calignancourt is the closest train stop however after a couple visits I decided Porte de Saint-Ouen is a much less chaotic and probably safer train stop, especially when leaving with your precious treasures. I never would have imagined the quality of the objects that you can find at the flea market. Jewelry from the turn of the century, Art Deco furniture, vintage furs, vintage silver, vintage lace. It was a ceramic pitcher by Michel Alexandrov alias Allix that stole my heart. Decorated with a horizontal geometric shapes in bright fuchsia and turquoise on white enamel, it was SO Miami. In my broken French I was able to learn about ceramics from Vallauris, France from the 50s. Pieces by Robert Picault, Allix, Jean Derval and other ceramists were carried by a number of vendors at the flea. My enthusiasm was frightening to the vendor, making it hard to negotiate, however my bargaining position was that I was convinced the pitcher would never survive the trip back home because I was on my way to Milan and if it broke... (sob face). It was a steal. It’s always less expensive to purchase from the source, or as close to the source as you can get. Many French furniture dealers started their careers flipping goods at the flea. Interior designers and antique dealers visit from around the world. It is hours of treasure hunting but when you finally decide to take a break for lunch Ma Cocotte couldn't be a better place, not to mention the people watching is pretty fantastic.